RI Department of Labor and Training
Consumer Advisory

November Unemployment Rate Drops to 5.3 Percent;
Rhode Island-Based Jobs Up 400 from October (pdf)

December 17, 2016

The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for November 2016 was 5.3 percent, down two-tenths of a percentage point from the October rate. Over the year, the unemployment rate is also down two-tenths of a percentage point from the November 2015 rate of 5.5 percent.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.6 percent in November 2016, down three-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month and down four-tenths of a percentage point over the year.

The number of unemployed RI residents—those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment—was 29,200, down 1,500 from the October figure of 30,700. Over the year, the number of unemployed dropped by 1,100.

A total of 7,772 individuals collected Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in November 2016,* down from 8,093 a year ago. This month, UI claimants accounted for 30.4 percent of the total unemployed.

The number of employed RI residents was 526,300, down 300 from the October figure of 526,600. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents was up 4,000 from November 2015.

The RI labor force totaled 555,500 in November 2016, down 1,800 from October 2016 but up 2,900 from November 2015.

  Nov. 16 Oct. 16 Nov. 15
RI Unemployment Rate 5.3% 5.5% 5.5%
U.S. Unemployment Rate  4.6% 4.9% 5.0%
RI Job Count
(in thousands)
492.7 492.3 487.2


  • The RI unemployment rate was 5.3 percent, down two-tenths of a percentage point from last month and also from a year ago.
  • The number of RI-based jobs is up 400 from October and up 5,500 from a year ago. 
  • The number of employed RI residents decreased by 300 over the month.
  • There were 7,772 individuals collecting Unemployment Insurance benefits in November.*

JOBS BASED IN RHODE ISLAND: Estimated nonfarm payroll in Rhode Island totaled 492,700 in November, reflecting a gain of 400 jobs from the revised October estimate of 492,300. November marks two consecutive months of job gains totaling 2,000 jobs. Since the start of the year, a total of 4,200 jobs have been added to the economy. Overall, total nonfarm jobs are up 5,500 from November 2015.

The Arts, Entertainment & Recreation sector reported an over-the-month gain of 500 jobs in November. On average, this sector added over 300 jobs during the past three months, while having 500 more employees than a year ago.

Employment in Educational Services rose by 300 in November, following an increase of 700 in October. Over-the-year employment in Educational Services is up 500.

The Construction, Health Care & Social Assistance and Government sectors each reported gains of 200 jobs over the month. The number of jobs in Government is up 500 over the year, while the number of jobs in the Construction and Health Care & Social Assistance sectors are up 300 and 100, respectively.

Finally, November job gains were also reported in the Information, Professional & Business Services and Transportation & Utilities sectors, as all three sectors reported a gain of 100 jobs each. Among these three industries, the Professional & Business Services sector has prospered with an additional 2,300 jobs from a year ago, while the number of jobs in the Information (-300) and Transportation & Utilities (-100) sectors are both down over the year.

Employment in the Financial Activities sector was down 400 jobs from October. The number of jobs within this sector is down 700 from November 2015.

Jobs in the Manufacturing sector continued to trend down, with a loss of 300 jobs in November marking four consecutive months of job declines totaling 1,400 jobs. Manufacturing employment is down 600 over the year.

A loss of 300 jobs was reported in both the Retail Trade and Other Services sectors. Over-the-year Retail Trade employment is up 700, while the number of jobs in Other Services is down 200 from November 2015.

The November employment level in the Accommodation & Food Services, Mining & Logging and Wholesale Trade sectors remained unchanged from October. Over-the-year employment in the Accommodation & Food Services sector is up 2,700, Wholesale Trade employment is down 200, and Mining employment remained even.

MANUFACTURING: In November 2016, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $18.59 per hour, up thirty-three cents from October 2016, and up seventy-eight cents from November 2015. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 39.8 hours per week in November, up three-tenths of an hour over the month and up one hour and six-tenths from a year ago.

METHODOLOGY: The unemployment figures are based largely on a survey of households in Rhode Island and measure the unemployment status of people who live in the state. Unemployment rates prior to 1976 are not recognized by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as official since the methodology used at that time is not comparable to today’s methods. The establishment of employment figures is derived from a survey of businesses in Rhode Island and measure the number of jobs in the state. Rhode Island labor market information is available at www.dlt.ri.gov/lmi. Additional information on procedures for producing Current Employment Statistics (CES) estimates is available on the BLS web site at www.bls.gov/sae/cesprocs.htm. BLS will be releasing all states’ November labor force data and job counts on December 16, 2016. DLT is scheduled to release the December 2016 labor force figures and job counts on Thursday, January 19, 2017, at 2:00 p.m.

* Refers to the number of new and reopened claims filed by UI beneficiaries and claims filed by those already collecting UI in the week that includes the 12th of the month.


The RI Department of Labor and Training offers employment services, educational services and economic opportunities to both individuals and employers. DLT protects Rhode Island’s workforce by enforcing labor laws, prevailing wage rates and workplace health and safety standards. The department also provides temporary income support to unemployed and temporarily disabled workers. For more information, please call the RI Department of Labor and Training at (401) 462-8000 or visit the web site at www.dlt.ri.gov

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